Committed to a principled approach grounded in thorough prepa­ration with respect for the process .


Born out of the belief that resolution of complex disputes is about more than the end result, James Barkley is committed to a principled approach to mediation.

The power of principled mediation

James W. Barkley is a seasoned and widely respected lawyer who has represented clients in the insurance, construction, and product manufacturing industries for nearly three decades. He is uniquely positioned as a mediator to draw from both his substantial subject matter expertise and his role as a conscientious advocate. Over the course of his career, James has demonstrated a remarkable ability to solve challenging and high-risk problems and find creative solutions that are not evident to others.


During mediation, James brings the following qualities to the table.


James pays attention to the small details and subtleties of complex situations. In doing so, he develops a deep knowledge of the people and the issues at hand.


By identifying and proposing solutions that are not readily apparent to others, James excels at finding innovative outcomes.


James approaches mediation with energy and diligence and is exceptionally patient with parties as he guides them toward a meaningful resolution.


James arrives at a mediation having done the hard work necessary to engage the participants in a substantive way during the session.


James unites the candor of a trusted friend with the neutrality of a skilled adviser. His personal integrity informs every aspect of his work as a mediator and inspires confidence in those who rely on him.

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The power of
principled mediation

Traditional litigation is built on an adversarial model that causes participants in the process to lose objectivity, making it difficult to hear what the other side is saying.

Mediation, in contrast, can give parties a more direct and compassionate path to resolution. But when it is used only as a tool to “horse trade” settlement offers, mediation can exacerbate the “us versus them” dynamic. This can impede the participants’ ability to reach a final agreement, leaving them disappointed with the process and result.

A principled approach to mediation is grounded in thorough preparation, and the focus is on thoughtful, robust, and informed exchanges about the participants’ positions, needs, and desires. Principled mediation provides closure and satisfaction for all involved by finding common ground that is not based purely in economics.


Stephan “Hobie” F. Andrews

Vandeventer Black LLP

Over the past 25 years, James and I have worked together in a number of settings, and he is truly one of the finest attorneys I’ve had the privilege of working with. Recently, James helped us resolve a case that was very contentious; every issue was in dispute and I thought that a negotiated resolution would be impossible. But he was able to weave the conflicting positions, demands, and defenses into an acceptable tapestry. It wasn’t easy, but his dogged perseverance and gentlemanly conduct helped us find a resolution.

His depth of knowledge sets him apart from other mediators; he takes the time to learn the facts and each party’s argument before he steps in.

And although his well of knowledge is deep, he never talks down—but rather to—counsel and parties. He is quite gracious and accommodating. I can’t count the number of mediations I’ve been in, but without question, James is in the very top echelon of mediators.


Barry A. Hackney

Hirschler Fleischer

I’ve been on both sides of cases with James and have been in multiple mediations with him over the past two decades. He has a great judicial temperament; he is able to understand the personalities of the parties and their attorneys; and he goes to great lengths to understand the facts of any particular case and how the law applies.

In all mediations, you will reach an impasse, but when that happens, James never gets discouraged or lets parties get discouraged. He keeps the process alive, which is what the parties ultimately want.

James has an extraordinary work ethic and is very creative in finding common ground and leading parties to a resolution. He works with each side to identify strengths and weaknesses, which lends him substantial credibility as a mediator.


Daniel J. Kraftson

Kraftson Caudle

I have been involved in three mediations with James, and in each case, he did a masterful job in very challenging, complex situations. James has the complete package of attributes that make for a great mediator: intelligence, great interpersonal skills, experience, diligence, patience, and integrity. He works hard up front and gets up to speed on complicated cases quickly in a way that many mediators do not; he really puts in the time and effort up front, laying a foundation for a successful mediation before the mediation session even begins. James is also exceptionally persistent and creative, proposing possible solutions that parties haven’t previously considered.

Above all, he embodies a level of personal integrity that leads the parties to a dispute to place their trust and confidence in him.

James W. Barkley  Mediation

(434) 293-1200
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